The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 9

    Groped

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 12

    Falls

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 2

    Groped

  • 4

    Burns

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness